External Affairs

Behind Camouflage of Rhetoric on Pakistan and Terror, Modi Drops Talk of ‘Punishment’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being garlanded at a public rally during the BJP National council meeting at Kozhikode on Saturday. Credit PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being garlanded at a public rally during the BJP National council meeting at Kozhikode on Saturday. Credit PTI

New Delhi:  Addressing BJP workers in Kozhikode on Saturday, Narendra Modi launched a sharp verbal attack on Pakistan for “spilling blood” across Asia by exporting terror and said the Uri attack which killed 18 Indian soldier would never be forgotten but refrained from the language of retribution that he and senior BJP leaders had used  in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

If on September 18, the prime minister tweeted that he would like to “assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished” and BJP leader Ram Madhav had said India should be ready to ‘take an entire jaw for a tooth’ and not be bothered by the need for restraint,  Modi used the occasion of his first public address since the attack at Uri t0 say India would work to isolate Pakistan so that ‘the sacrifice of our 18 jawans will not go in vain’.

He said that while countries in Asia are working to make the 21st century an Asian one, Pakistan is engaged in a conspiracy of causing bloodshed across the continent by sponsoring terrorism and killing innocents.

Accusing Pakistan of being behind terror incidents in Afghanistan, Bangladesh besides India, he said, “Across the world wherever a terrorist incident happens you will find that either terrorists had gone from there (Pakistan) or come to live there like Osama-bin Laden.”

Modi asked the people of Pakistan to question their leaders as to why India exports software while Pakistan exports terrorism. He also said they ask their leaders why they keep talking about Kashmir and misleading them when they cannot handle PoK, Baluchistan and Gilgit and recalled how it could not handle Bangladesh, which was once a part of Paksitan.

If the prime minister has spent the past few days cloistered with senior cabinet colleagues and defence officials to discuss possible Indian responses to Uri attack, his remarks in Kozhikode – which avoided any mention of taking the fight to terrorist organisations based in Pakistan – indicate that India’s efforts will be directed at isolating Pakistan diplomatically.

Modi said there were 17 attempts by fidayeen attackers sent by the neighbouring country which have been defeated by Indian soldiers who have neutralised over 110 terrorists, which is the highest in recent years.

Acknowledging that there is an atmosphere of anger in the country over the attack, Modi accused the “rulers” in Pakistan of reading out the scripts written by patrons of terrorists, an apparent reference to its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the United Nations.

The closest the prime minister came to talking of actual conflict was when he hit out at Pakistani leaders for saying that they will fight for 1000 years with India. But even there, he turned the issue around: “I accept this challenge. I want to tell you that India wants to fight with Pakistan. If you have the courage then why not fight to end poverty, unemployment, illiteracy. Let us see which country wins, India or Pakistan,” he said.

According to PTI,  the BJP, in its resolution to be passed in its national council tomorrow, will refer to the Uri attack and target Pakistan over its “sponsorship” to terrorism, party sources said.

With inputs from PTI